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A Plea for Business Automation

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

It’s nearly August 2022 and inflation is crazy high in the United States. In the simplest terms, inflation is caused by high demand, low supply.

Example: Let's say that back in 2015 there were 100 people and 90 apples. Not everyone can get an apple, so the price starts to increase because people will pay a little more for an apple. Now it’s 2022, there are 100 people and 40 apples. The price of an apple shoots through the roof because there are definitely not enough apples for people. What do we do?!

Can we change demand? Can we change supply? I think it might be easier to change the supply at this point. My suggestion is for businesses to start utilizing robotic automation.

Robotic automation can heavily assist in some industries and nearly run the show in other industries. There are some industries that require the human touch, meaning automation is just not helpful. What would this do for the economy? It would mean that there would be some fields within the economy that could meet demand or help meet demand by creating a steady supply.

Let’s identify what industries could benefit from robotic automation.

TED agricultural bot by Naio Technologies

Heavily Assisted Industries

  • Agricultural

  • Medical

  • Textile

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Janitorial

  • Electronics Production

  • Customer Service

BreadBot, fully automated, by Wilkinson Baking Co.

Near Full Automation

  • Fast Food and Fully Automated Food Kiosks

  • Product Packaging

  • Automobile and aerospace assembly

  • Warehouse control/Intralogistics

  • Amazon Go Grocery (link)

Your first reaction may be: That’s taking away jobs from people!

If employment was at 80-100% for these industries, we might not need the extra assistance. Utilizing robots in these industries will reduce payroll and other overhead costs. It won’t replace every single employee, but would reduce employees in positions often left with vacancies.

I was reading the article “Almost One in Five Alaska State Jobs is Vacant as Agencies Struggle to Hire, Retain Employees” from The Midnight Sun, July 22, 2022.

It states:

Among the listings:

  • 30% of the 196 positions in charge of child support are unfilled;

  • 16% of the 142 jobs at the Department of Motor Vehicles are vacant;

  • The state’s commercial fisheries division is missing 21% of its 666-person workforce; and

  • Almost 60% of the state ferry system’s 1,275 jobs are vacant.

I wonder if these jobs (at least some of them) could be automated. 16% of 142 jobs (DMV) is 22.7, so let's just use the number 22. Could those 22 jobs become automated by customer service robots? I think the DMV would actually benefit from becoming partially automated.

The other numbers we’re looking at here are 30% of 196 jobs with child support (58.8 vacancies), 21% of 666 jobs with commercial fisheries (139.86 vacancies), and 60% of 1275 jobs with the state ferry system (765 vacancies). Keep in mind that the article only listed some of the problem areas, not all of them. In an effort to keep people from leaving Alaska state jobs, the state’s answer is to try to pay them more money. This doesn’t really fix the problem, simply applies a monetary bandaid over a big wound.

What I’m not seeing is an answer to the question: What do people want to do for work? Can they realistically obtain that goal?

No one wants to work an entry-level position their whole life. That’s why most people associate the fast food industry with teenagers and first time job seekers. People are expected to learn some sort of skill, find a job that utilizes said skill, and become a productive member of society. Sometimes we end up in unexpected positions and sometimes we don’t like what we do, but it pays the bills.

With inflation as high as it is, society needs to consider a change to how we perceive jobs. Some industries may not see a great deal of change, such as skilled labor positions (plumbers, electricians, teamsters, etc), except in more of a job software and job tech sort of function. What if we provide a year or two, in high school, to give students applicable job skills? They could enter the workforce at a higher entry level, leaving jobs like fast food to robotic automation.


Please feel free to leave a comment or a question. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. What are your thoughts on robotic automation for businesses? Do you think it could help resolve inflation (or some inflation)? How do you think it would effect employment?

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